Chia Seeds

Marketing buzz has begun to focus on “super grains,” and it shows some similarity to how “super fruits” were marketed about five years ago, said Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director for Datamonitor, during a SupplySide West session Nov. 7 in Las Vegas.

Like super fruits, super grains are known for their nutritive benefits, he said. Protein and fiber content are two super grain qualities. Other possible characteristics are organic, gluten-free, high omega-3 fatty acid content and non-bioengineered.

Super grains are showing up in new products in such categories as breakfast cereal, bread, rolls and cookies, according to Datamonitor, a market research company. Super grains, especially chia seeds, are beginning to appear in beverages. Super grains may be combined in one product, such as amaranth and oats in hot cereal, Mr. Vierhile said. In Brazil, one bread product contains chia and macadamia nuts

New products with quinoa have shown up in 40 different categories over the past three years, according to Datamonitor. The categories include breakfast cereal, cereal bars, cookies and pasta. Campbell Soup has quinoa in a product.

“The United States has kind of led this whole quinoa movement,” Mr. Vierhile said.

Millet, found in bird feed and bean bags, has a nutty flavor. It is sweet and high in protein. Millet has been used in more than 50 different product categories, including breakfast cereal, over the past three years, according to Datamonitor.

Amaranth and kaniwa are similar. Amaranth, which is actually a seed, has high protein content and is showing use in bread and pancakes. Not many products feature kaniwa, but amaranth has appeared in new products in about 40 different product categories over the past three years, according to Datamonitor. The categories include breakfast cereal, crackers and confectionery items. Amaranth may be used in alternative milk products for people who have allergies to dairy or soy.

The number of new product launches with chia seed has doubled over the past three years, according to Datamonitor. New product launches have come in 50 different categories, including cereal bars. Chia is cultivated in several geographic areas, including South America, Mexico and Australia. Chia has omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium and magnesium. Chia absorbs its weight in water, which is a satiety benefit for products with chia.